Leading Hong Kong-based jockey Zac Purton will return to Sydney for the first time in over five years when he partners Sacred Falls in the 2014 George Ryder Stakes at Rosehill Gardens on Saturday.
Purton moved to Hong Kong during the 2007/2008 racing season, after establishing himself as one of the most talented young jockeys in Australia, and immediately had plenty of success in the world’s most competitive riding environment.
The 31-year-old was narrowly denied victory in the 2012/2013 Hong Kong Jockey Premiership by Douglas Whyte and is currently on top of the Premiership for the 2013/2014 racing season, but will have to hold-off a fast-finishing Joao Moreira in the final stages of the season.
Purton has picked up four rides at Rosehill Gardens on Saturday and will be returning to Sydney racing for the first time since he took out the Group 1 Epsom Handicap (1600m) with Theseo at Royal Randwick during the 2008 Spring Racing Carnival.
The world-class hoop will have his first ride on talented colt Mr Bogart in the Group 2 Pago Pago Stakes (1200m); with the son of Northern Meteor chasing his first race win after finishing second behind Valentia in the Group 2 Skyline Stakes (1200m).
Purton has picked up the ride on another talented juvenile in the Group 2 Magic Night Stakes (1200m) and will partner debut winner Clifton Red in the race that offers ballot exempt entry into the 2014 Golden Slipper (1200m).
The 2003 Brisbane Jockeys’ Premiership winner will return to Australian Group 1 racing when he partners Sacred Falls in the 2014 George Ryder Stakes, in what will be his second ride in the race after finishing sixth on Bart Cummings-trained God’s Own in the 2006 edition of the race.
Purton will finish his day with a ride on Gerald Ryan-trained Angel Of Mercy in the Group 3 Percy Sykes Tribute Stakes (1900m); with the talented mare returning to Sydney after having four starts in Western Australia, which was highlighted by a dominant win in the Listed Northam Cup (1600m).
Purton is yet to score a Group 1 win in 2014, but took out the Hong Kong Vase (2400m), The Queen’s Silver Jubilee Cup (1400m), the Hong Kong Gold Cup (2000m) and the Singapore Airlines International Cup (2000m) in 2013.